A Memorable Anniversary

Mosque

Prayer times on display at the beautiful Kocatepe Mosque in Ankara.

On the eve of our 10th wedding anniversary there was an attempted coup in Turkey. We were staying in Adrasan, a peaceful village on the coast and did not have internet. We were blissfully unaware until early morning when we turned on our data and my brother had sent me 30 messages with news links and thoughts of concern. And then, once we had satiated ourselves with the news coverage, we spent a relaxing day at the beach, surrounded by Turkish families doing the same.

When all you have known is a peaceful stable democracy, the news stories can sound really scary. But what I find so interesting is that before I moved here I assumed that suicide bombs and coups, even failed ones, would completely disrupt daily life. Yes, for a few days road blocks and massive protests restricted movement around the city. But unless you were connected to the subsequent firing and jailing of government opposition, life continued as mostly normal. This summer families are still enjoying summer vacations, just as many people are out shopping, and thanks to a free public transportation initiative that has continued past the Bayram festivities, people are traveling around the city in mass.

One of my Turkish friends agreed with me but said that people are “keeping their heads down.” Now is not the time to stand out, she said. Another one of my friends who had a front-row window view of the bombs going off and aircraft fighting said that she no longer feels safe here. There has perhaps been a perceivable shift in attitude. There is a feeling of foreboding about how things are going to transpire during this three-month state of emergency. But the Turkish people love Turkey and they continue their normal way of life. And so I do the same, going about my daily tasks and praying for peace.